Missing Teeths

Why it's important to replace missing teeth

Missing several teeth can severely influence your daily life. It can affect your general health, your appearance and self-esteem. Learn more about what role your teeth play in your mouth and the consequences of tooth loss.

Your teeth: A story of molars, incisors, gum and bone

All of your teeth have an important role to play. They help you chew and grind up food. They also help you speak clearly and are the essence of your smile.

We start off with 20 milk teeth when we are children, which then get replaced by 32 permanent teeth.

What causes tooth problems?

You’ve lost a tooth? Learn more about possible reasons and how to avoid it in future.

Tooth decay

Your tooth died
Plaque is a biofilm that forms on your teeth if it’s not washed away by saliva or regularly brushed away with a toothbrush. Bacteria transforms sugar and starch into acids. These acids have a negative effect on the tooth enamel by dissolving the minerals that harden it. With time, this can destroy your teeth by creating holes. If not treated properly, your tooth can die.

Inflammation of the gums

Your gums are inflamed
Your gums are made up of tissue and ligaments that keep your teeth stable. They work as protective shields for your tooth roots and stimulate your jaw bone to grow around the tooth. When bacteria cause an inflammation of the gums, these ligaments start vanishing. The gum pulls back and the bone around the tooth reduces.

These gum diseases, also called periodontal diseases, loosen your teeth and expose the sensitive tooth roots. Now it’s an easy job for bacteria to form on your teeth and cause tooth-root decay and tooth loss.

Tooth loss after an accident

You had an accident
Accidents, for example in sports, can lead to the loss of one or more teeth and cause trauma to your gums and jaw bone. Often trauma only becomes apparent months or years after the accident, when it has already impacted the tooth root. 

It’s genetically determined
Some people are born with a reduced number of teeth or no teeth at all (an illness called congenital anodontia), others never develop their permanent adult teeth. Sometimes the surface of your tooth (enamel) isn’t strong enough, which can create cone or peg-shaped teeth (ectodermal dysplasia).

Find out how dental implants can replace a missing or severely damaged tooth and bring back full function as well as a natural look and feel.

Consequences of missing teeth

Effects on jaw bone and gum
When you lose teeth, it disturbs the interplay between teeth and bone. Gum and bone are no longer stimulated well enough due to the missing teeth, so the jaw bone starts shrinking and your gum pulls back. This can weaken neighboring teeth until they collapse. Teeth in the opposite jaw can then start growing into the gap.

Tooth loss can affect your appearance

Effects on your appearance
Missing teeth and a reduced jaw bone can make your face look older and wrinkly, and for your cheeks to become hollow and saggy, because they can no longer fully stabilize your lips and cheeks from the inside.

Every tooth counts.

Denture problems

Why your dentures give you trouble

If you have lost many teeth or have a toothless jaw, the most common solution is dentures, also called false teeth. Dentures can get rid of many problems caused by missing teeth. But if dentures don’t fit well or aren’t given the necessary care, they can lead to a number of new problems.

Consequences of badly fitting dentures

Loss of jaw bone is a consequence of badly fitting dentures

Irritated gum and mouth
Some denture wearers suffer from mouth infections caused by yeast, which settles on their dentures if they don’t fit properly.

Moving dentures
When you lose teeth, it disturbs the interplay between teeth and bone. Because gum and bone are no longer stimulated well enough by the teeth and tooth roots, the jaw bone starts shrinking and your gum pulls back. When this happens, your dentures will become loose and need to be adjusted. Loose dentures can cause sore spots or even painful inflammations.

Adhesive creams will only provide momentary relief and should be used sparingly. Repeated application of an increasing amount of cream can be tedious, time-consuming and often disagreeable for denture wearers.

Difficulties eating, speaking and smiling
As a denture wearer you certainly know the feeling of not being able to eat what you like. Maybe you even feel uncomfortable smiling or speaking in public for fear of losing your dentures in front of other people.

Modern dental implant solutions can help you get rid of these problems and regain full tooth function and a natural look and feel.

How a dental implant solution can help you

What is a dental implant solution?

If you’re unhappy with your dentures or toothless jaw, a dental implant solution might be an alternative.

What is a dental implant?

Teeth that look and feel like your own
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots made of titanium which replace your missing teeth. The dentist inserts the implants into your jaw bone, where the titanium then fuses with the bone.

Just like your tooth root did before, these implants then build a stable base for a bar, an overdenture or other types of restorations, which will become the visible part of your new teeth.

Dental implants are very small, normally around 10 mm long and only 3-5 mm wide at the top.

Dental implants are very small, normally around 10 mm long

 

Dental implant solutions

Usually each tooth is replaced with one implant per tooth. But if you need to replace many missing teeth or even an entire jaw, there are other solutions. Depending on the condition of your jaw bone and gum, as little as two to four dental implants can already restore your upper or lower jaw with a set of fixed teeth. Often this can be more cost-effective for you.

Click on the image to learn more about which dental implant solutions are available.

Accident

What to do when a tooth gets knocked out

If you lose a tooth in a dental accident, it’s important to follow a number of steps that may increase your dentist’s chances of saving the tooth.

The emergency checklist below tells you how to behave after a dental accident.

“I lost a tooth in an accident. How can I get it replaced?”

Emergency checklist

  • Stay calm.
  • Find the tooth and pick it up by the crown (the white part). Avoid touching the root.
  • If the tooth is dirty, wash it briefly (max. 10 seconds) under cold running water and reposition it. Once the tooth is back in place, bite on a handkerchief to hold it in position.
  • If the previous step is not possible, place the tooth in a glass of milk or another suitable storage medium and bring it to the emergency clinic.
  • The tooth can also be transported in the mouth, keeping it inside the lip or cheek.
  • Avoid storage in water.
  • Seek emergency dental treatment immediately.
How a dental implant can help you.

We all lead active lives and sometimes accidents happen. It can be a shock to suddenly loose a tooth or several teeth, but dental implants can help you win back your smile.

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root made of titanium which replaces the missing tooth. The dentist inserts the implant into the jaw bone where the titanium then integrates with the bone. Just like your tooth root did before, the implant then builds a stable foundation for the crown, which will become the visible part of your new tooth.

Dental implants are very small, normally around 10 mm long and only 3-5 mm wide at the top.

Dental implants are very small, normally around 10 mm long

Crowns and bridges
Dental crowns and bridges are also known as replacement teeth. They can be made of different material and are used to replace any tooth that is missing or beyond repair. Beforehand, a dental laboratory designs each replacement tooth individually, so that it matches the bite, look and feel of your other teeth.

Crown_zirconia-medium-e1400595722309.jpg

A crown is used on a damaged tooth or on an implant.

A bridge can restore gaps between teeth. The outer parts of the bridge are placed on existing teeth next to the tooth gap, while the middle part replaces the lost tooth. Bridges can also be used on implants, usually when two or more teeth are missing.

Bridge or dental implant? – A comparison
To restore missing teeth, your dentist can also use a bridge. It consists of several replacement teeth that will literally bridge the gap. But using bridges on natural teeth can have several serious disadvantages:

Visible metal rims
Certain types of bridges, made of metal covered with porcelain, can lead to visible black metal lines at the rim of the bridge when your gums keep receding. An all-ceramic bridge can provide an alternative in such cases. Speak to your dentist if an all-ceramic bridge might be a good solution for you.

Sacrificing surrounding teeth
Bridges are anchored to adjacent teeth to keep them in place. This means, however, that these neighboring teeth must first be reduced in size.

Effects on jaw bone and gum
When you lose a tooth, it disturbs the interplay between teeth and bone. Gum and bone are no longer stimulated well enough, due to the missing tooth. Your jaw bone starts shrinking and your gum pulls back.

To avoid grinding down teeth and effects on jaw bone and gum, your dentist can replace the tooth root to create a completely new tooth with a dental implant.

Speak to your dentist to find the solution that’s best for you.